Aidan Read and Matthew Solomon took their WINEURASIA Motorsport Ligier to pole position and a brace of race wins on their LMP3 debut in the Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit (27-29 May).
Solomon, who returns to Eurasia after starting his car racing career with the team in 2013, initially set the pace with the #94 Ligier JS P3 on a wet, but drying track in FP1, but Read went on to record the fastest free practice time of all – 1m59.925s – as conditions stabilised in Friday’s (27 May) second session.
The weather remained unpredictable and the damp conditions appeared to equalise the Sprint Cup field in Saturday’s (28 May) qualifying sessions, but Solomon picked up from where he left off in free practice to secure pole position for the weekend’s second race on Sunday (29 May).
However, Read started race one on Saturday afternoon and overcame the draining humidity to make his way into second position, before going in hot pursuit of the leading PRT Racing Ginetta LMP3.
A swift driver-change by the WINEURASIA crew saw it snatch the initiative and Solomon was simply able to control the second half of the race, recording the fastest lap – 2m00.934s – en route to a historic first ever Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup victory.
Read said: “We started fourth after quite a tricky qualifying session, with overnight rain soaking into the track. I had a good start and got up to second, and we just had a pretty stable gap to manage to first.”
Solomon added: “I must pay tribute to the WINEURASIA Motorsport boys, who have done a fantastic job all weekend. We started off with the car being quite tricky to drive on Thursday, but the team worked really hard on it and, safe to say, it was pretty good in the race. Aidan (Read) did a fantastic job in his stint and once I got in, it was just about catching the leader, passing him and bringing it home.”
In Round 2 on Sunday, the WINEURASIA pairing achieved a dominant lights-to-flag victory, Solomon leading away from pole position and building a sizeable gap to his nearest challenger before handing the reins to Read, who managed his advantage during a strong run to the chequered flag.
“What a fantastic weekend for the WINEURASIA Motorsport team,” said Solomon. “Everything moved forwards from when we arrived at the Sepang International Circuit and, in this instance, I took the start, pulled a decent gap, and just tried to conserve and save everything for Aidan. We were very comfortable in the car for our first weekend in LMP3, which is amazing. Hopefully we’ll be back to continue this performance.”
Read added: “Like Matt said, we’ve been making good steps with the car since the start of the weekend here in Malaysia. It’s my first time in LMP3s and I’m feeling more and more comfortable. The setup has been going in the right direction and I think we can be happy with the performance. Matt did a good job in qualifying to put us on pole and he pulled in a nice big lead. When he handed the car over to me, it was just about controlling things and bringing the race home. It’s an awesome feeling to come home with two wins this weekend. Congratulations to the WINEURASIA Motorsport team!”
Eurasia Motorsport Team Principal, Mark Goddard, said: “These are great results for the team in the first ever event under the WINEURASIA banner. It also cements the concept of taking drivers from the junior formulas to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and FIA World Endurance Championship via the Asian Le Mans Series and the Sprint Cup. Matt (Solomon) raced with Eurasia Motorsport in the Formula Masters China Series, as Aidan (Read) does now, and this weekend’s successes are a testament to the grounding they have received from us. Another of our graduates, Daniel Ricciardo, started this weekend’s Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix from pole position too!”
Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2016 Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup are scheduled to take place on 5-7 August at the Sepang International Circuit.